Hello all! Getting ready to start our flock when our local TSC gets their chicks in. Didn't happen last year but it will this year. I made a brooder out of an old shipping crate I got from work and modified it. Even made a toy box for the grandson with the leftover crate. Inside brooder measures are 47" long X 21.5" wide X 24" high. This will be for six chicks. I have the waterer ( a DIY I made ) and a feeder ( a bird feeder we had outside ). They are hanging just high enough so they should be able to get to feed and water also to help prevent them from scratching shavings (and poo) into the feeder and waterer. I've been testing with the heat lamp and using an indoor/ outdoor thermo but I can't seem to find the sweet spot to get 95 at the base. It's either too hot or too cold but I'm only using the spring clamp on the lamp. The brooder will go in our 3 season room that we can heat with a space heater at night and they'll benefit from the sun shining through the sliding doors. Here's a few pics of it. I had the wheels from an old computer desk I decided to use on the brooder. Maybe we can wheel them out to the deck on warm sunny days as they get older. There was a hinged lid on it but we decided to take it off. Will the lid be needed as they get bigger? Here's the inside. Pine shavings for the floor before we get the chicks. The waterer is hanging just barely off the floor and the feeder is actually resting on the floor. The idea behind this was to raise them as needed as the chicks get bigger. Maybe I'm overthinking this part. My biggest thing is keeping them at the right temps with the brooder lamp and the red 250watt heat bulb. I'm not a fan of the spring clamp and I'm thinking of making some kind of custom clamp to slide up and down a pipe (steel fab is easy for me, it's my job). How high up should I allow the lamp to go? Where would be the best spot for the heat lamp? On one end in the middle? How long before getting our chicks should we have the brooder up to proper temps? Should we line the floor with contact paper for easier cleanup with the pine shavings? How about screened or a windowed spot on the side side? We have a German Shepard (7 yr old female) the we'll need to train to leave the chicks alone because we're going to try a little free ranging when they're ready for the coop. Just looking to do what's best for the chicks and looking for any input from all the experience on this site. Thank you!